Horses from Canada, California, New York and Florida are returning to the state where they were conceived for Saturday's 11th running of the Maryland Million at Laurel Park.
A total of 122 horses sired by Maryland stallions -- most of whom remained in their home state for their racing careers -- are entered in the Maryland Million's 11 races. Purses for the races -- one steeplechase, two others on turf, eight on dirt -- total $1 million.
The richest purse is reserved for the $200,000 Maryland Million Classic, which features the ongoing showdown between the defending champion, Brilliant Patriot, and last year's Preakness Stakes runner-up, Oliver's Twist.
A son of Marine Brass trained by New York's Bobby Barbara, Brilliant Patriot defeated Oliver's Twist in last year's Classic, and then defeated him again last month in an allowance race at Pimlico. But that race for Oliver's Twist, a son of Horatius, was a tuneup for the 1 3/16-mile Classic. Trained by J. William "Bill" Boniface, Oliver's Twist is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Brilliant Patriot is 5-2.
Although the Classic offers the richest paycheck, it is just one race in an afternoon filled with evenly matched, large fields. With more than 20,000 fans expected, Maryland Million is the second biggest racing day in the state.
The afternoon kicks off at 12: 30 p.m. with the $25,000, 2 1/8 -mile Steeplechase Handicap and ends about 6 p.m. with the $50,000, 1 1/8 -mile Starter Handicap. In between are the $25,000, 1 1/8 -mile Distaff Starter Handicap, the Classic and seven races worth $100,000 each.
Kent Desormeaux, the popular former Maryland jockey, will travel from California to ride Wee Miss Bee, a daughter of Shelter Half, in the Maryland Million Ladies. Desormeaux will also ride in other races.
The Sprint Handicap features two past winners, Prenup from 1994 and Military Look from 1993. Prenup is a son of Smarten, and Military Look a son of Assault Landing.
The Citidancer colt Short Stay will compete in the Classic after winning last year's Turf, which took place on the sloppy dirt course because of heavy rains. And in the Distaff Handicap, Churchbell Chimes, a daughter of Deputed Testamony, seeks her third victory in a Maryland Million race.
Pub Date: 10/10/96